How to Create and Organize Vector Elements for Infographic Design

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In this tutorial, I’ll explain the process of organizing and creating vector elements to help in the design process of an infographic.


Creating Infographics

Why create infographics?

Infographics are a powerful visual aid to help explain concepts. Here are some ideas in which creating an infographic can help:

  • Presenting yourself: infographics are a tool that can be helpful to present yourself. They're a simple yet creative way to present your skills and experience in a simple and creative way. On the other hand, companies can use infographics to hire people they are looking for.
  • Presenting poll results: the best way to present research results. Statistics and numbers can be boring and the reader often gets distracted. With the use of an infographic, you can grab the reader’s attention. Because all data is presented in a simple and clear manner, a reader can see the results quickly and easily.
  • Presenting complex data: infographics are useful for education. The main goal of an infographic is to simplify complex data. Therefore it's an excellent way for presenting an overview of a detailed analysis.
  • Explaining working concepts: product's functional demonstrations can be explained by using an infographic.
  • Other: comparisons, knowledge base, tips and tricks, information, maps, annual reports, brand awareness …

Combine topics

For this tutorial: city promotion

In this tutorial, I’m creating an infographic to promote the city of London. It’s a combination of using a map of the country to localize the city: where is London on the UK map - and facts of the most popular buildings. A city promotion infographic is used a lot to give a potential visitor of the city an impression of the landmarks , the people, public transport, the most interesting places to visit, museums, restaurants, squares, shops, etc,. City promotion infographics are versatile: they can be used on websites, social media and in print.

The style is simple, clean and minimal. By using vectors in the infographic, it's much easier to export: the infographic can be exported for web use, for print, for mobile devices, etc,. Therefore the tutorial will be explained in Adobe Illustrator.

To maximise our time, it’s a good idea to organize the steps in which the design will be assembled. For this tutorial:

  • -Using Artboards containing vector elements (city shapes, buildings, charts, nature elements, people)
  • -Defining color and style
  • -Adjusting the elements to define the colors and style
  • -Repeating and scaling elements
  • -Creating the infographic layout
  • -Fine tuning and tweaking elements
  • -Adjusting paths
  • Using Artboards

    Organize the vector elements

    Start by collecting and organizing all the elements for the composition onto artboards. In Adobe Illustrator, you can work with artboards and give each artboard the corresponding dimensions. Each individual artboard can be exported as a single file.

    Before I start my search for vectors online, it’s a good idea to create a list of keywords so I don’t forget any topic for the infographic (London, Big Ben, …). I searched on Freepik.com for vectors and downloaded the ones that I’m going to use in the final infographic.

    Here’s a list of the vectors I searched for on Freepik.com to use in the infographic for this tutorial  Freepik also includes icons, PSD’s and photos!

    Once you download the vectors, you can place them on an Artboard to use as a reference.

    Convert the Artboard to the dimensions of the vector object:

  • Make sure the object is selected by clicking on it.
  • Go to Menu > Object > Artboards > Fit to selected art
  • Freepik-Infographics-01

    Defining color and style

    Setting the color and overall style

    To keep the style of the infographic consistent, it’s a good idea to first define the colors and style.

    Once you've selected them, save the colors to the Swatches panel.

    Freepik-Infographics-02

    Setting the style:

  • Open the Appearance Panel, go to Menu > Window > Appearance.
  • Select a vector object and make sure the fill and stroke colors are set to Transparent.
  • Select New Stroke in the Appearance Option panel.
  • Set the stroke to 2pt and give it a blue color.Freepik-Infographics-03
  • Saving the styles:

  • Open the Graphic Styles panel, go to Menu > Window > Graphic Styles
  • With the object still selected, click the button "new graphic style" at the bottom of the Graphic Styles panel
  • Freepik-Infographics-04

    Adjust the elements to define colors and style

    Adjust imported vectors

    Placing downloaded or created vectors will result in a variety of styles that need to be converted into one coherent style. Every element can be adjusted by clicking the defined style in the Graphic Styles panel. Make sure all vector elements have a transparent fill and stroke before applying a graphic style to it. Some vector's paths will need to be adjusted before applying a graphic style.

    For some vectors, a thicker stroke will work better combined with a thinner inner stroke.

    Freepik-Infographics-05

    Repeating and scaling elements

    Transform Effect

    Repeating elements can be done with the Transform Effect panel. Select the object you want to repeat and go to Menu > Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform

  • Move the element horizontal or vertical; here the element is moved 25px to the right, use negative numbers to move to the left.
  • Options: choose to scale Strokes & Effects and insert the amount you want to repeat
  • Freepik-Infographics-06

    Create the infographic layout

    Creating the layout

    Most of the time, the infographic will have a main title. Make the title large and use a legible font. In most cases, the layout will be sketched out on a piece of paper before you start with the digital version. Stick to the sketch to define the areas in the infographic.

    Fine tuning elements

    Tweaking elements for the final design

    You can spend a lot of time finalizing elements by replacing, scaling, adding or subtracting things, the list goes on … In this tutorial, the elements will be given a lighter background color to pop out of the page.

    Select the element you want to repeat and go to Menu > Object > Path > Offset Path. In the dialog box, set Offset to 3px and Joins to Round and make sure the preview box is selected. Click OK. Now change the stroke to the fill by clicking the little arrow above the fill and stroke and give the fill a light blue

    Freepik-Infographics-07

    Adjusting paths

    Keeping the style consistent

    After a while, some details will show some inconsistency, like the map has rounded borders, and for the overall style, it would look much better to have straight lines for the borders. Adjusting this can be done:

  • Select the element the map and go to Menu > Object > Path > Simplify.
  • In the dialog box, under Options check Straight Lines and make sure the preview box is selected.
  • Click OK
  • Now our map will fit in better with the rest of the infographic.
  • Giving the map a lighter background will make the map pop out more from the background.
  • Freepik-Infographics-08
    Freepik-Infographics-09

    End result

    Freepik-Infographics-Hero

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